Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Artist/Carver

While watching the video of Mike Stinnett, turning a dead tree into a beautifully hand-crafted walking stick, I was struck by the talent God gave him. Not only is he extremely talented, but he is patient. He never seems to be in a hurry to finish a project. Before carving, he used his talent to paint beautiful wildlife scenes on canvas.

I watched the video, linked in my previous post, at least a year ago, and this week, the Lord reminded me of it. He caused me to muse on what I had seen and He began to bring to mind some things about Himself for my own benefit and for the benefit of others.

The first thing I noticed about the artist was that He was the one who chose which fallen tree or branch he would use to make his work of art. Mr. Stinnett walked through a densely populated forest and could have chosen any tree that had died as a result of the fire that swept through the area some years before. He could have chosen any branch from a dead, fallen tree, so my first thought was why did he chose the ones he did?

I guess the answer is simple, in his mind he knew what he was going to make and he chose the branch or tree that pleased him. He could have chosen any tree for his project, but he chose only one. The Lord used this to remind me that He is sovereign and He chooses whom He will to work in that person's life.

Psalm 65:4 
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

The Bible also tells us...

Ephesians 1:3-6
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Mr. Stinnett walked through a forest full of fallen or dead trees and chose out only certain ones. He chose the ones he did only because it pleased him to do so. What an excellent picture of God looking down on fallen mankind and choosing whom He would to conform them from wretched sinners into useful works of His glory. 

According to Ephesians 1:5, God chose whom He did only because it pleased Him to do so. It wasn't because one was a little nicer, or one was a little taller, or one would make a better speaker than the rest. 

1 Corinthians 1:26-29

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

The second thing I noticed about Mr. Stinnett is that He didn't stop until his project was completed. He began the project and worked on it with patience until every little detail was finished. What a beautiful example of God working in the life of a person He has chosen to be saved. Not only does He chose that person, but He continually works in the life of that person until His work is finished.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it  until the day of Jesus Christ:
Just like Mr. Stinnett choosing the tree or branch he wanted to use, then patiently carving, grinding and sanding it until it was a beautiful work of art, God chooses whom He will and works in that life until that person is a beautiful work of art, conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Turning A Fallen Tree Into A Useful Work Of Art

Have you ever sat down at the end of a long day and, for relaxation purposes, watched something that God, years later, reminded you of to give you a better understanding of life? I find it interesting how God sometimes chooses to reveal truth. He is the greatest teacher I know.

A year or two ago, after a long day of work, I grabbed my Kindle for the purpose of unwinding. Most people, when they hear "Kindle" have visions of reading a good story on an electronic device. Not me. Though that was it's original intended use, I have come to use it to watch YouTube videos.

So, while seeking some relaxing entertainment, I came across a video by an extremely talented artist named Mike Stennett. At the time I didn't even give thought to how I came across it, or even why. I just thought I was watching something to relax, but God was using it to teach me something that a couple of years late He would wake me up to.

It is amazing to see the truth of the word God's word. Proverbs 19:21 reminds us that there are many devices (or plans) in man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. I had a plan to relax and watch a video, yet the whole time God was using it to teach me a lesson that would give me a greater appreciation for Him and His work in lives of His people.

Over the next few, or several posts, depending on how long it takes, I plan to share what the Lord has shown me, from watching a YouTube video of artist Mike Stennett turning a fallen, dead tree into a useful work of art.

Below is the link to one of those videos.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Abiding In Christ

In chapter 13 of the Gospel of John, a window is opened allowing us to view the last Passover our Lord would observe before carrying out what the Passover had always pictured. From the days of Moses in Exodus 12 until the very night we read about in John 13, every time the Passover was observed, it reminded the Jews of their deliverance from slavery by the hand of God…but even greater, it foreshadowed what Christ was about to do. He was about to deliver His people, who had been given to Him before the foundation of the world, from the slavery of their sin. He was about to become the Passover Lamb of God.

In verses 5 through 9, Jesus Christ washes the Disciples feet, modeling for them the way they were to live their lives…in humility and service to each other.

Then Jesus makes a statement…

John 13:10-11
10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

Jesus then sends Judas away to do what Satan had filled his heart to do…betray Him. With Judas gone, Christ began to comfort the remaining 11 Disciples…those who truly believed on Him. That is found in John chapter 14.

Now we come to our text this morning. With what has already transpired we read…

John 15:1-8
1 I am the true (ä-lā-thē-no's that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name) vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Christ calls Himself “the true vine,” because, as the vine imparts to its branches sap and productiveness, so Christ infuses into His elect His own divine strength and life. He used this metaphor because his disciples were Jewish and very familiar with vineyards.

Christ also relates to them that God the Father is the husbandman, or farmer…keeper of the vine. I know this from experience, being the keeper of any fruit producing plants, such as a garden (in my case) or vineyard, requires knowledge, consistency and hard work. Our Heavenly Father, has all knowledge. He never changes, therefore He is consistent. He never sleeps or slumbers, therefore He is always at work. 

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

This verse requires both a systematic approach as well as an historical approach in order to rightly divide or interpret. First of all, Christ says, “Every branch in me…” Some read this and believe that Christ is speaking of two types of saved individuals. I can understand how they would think that. We have to rightly interpret what Christ is saying to understand what He is meaning. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit is taken away.” Is Christ saying that every true Christian that does not bear fruit will be taken away? Is it possible for a true believer to never produce fruit? Can a true believer lose his salvation?

We know…

John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Christ will NOT cast out the elect.

John 10:27-30
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30 I and my Father are one.

True Christians have been given ETERNAL life (without end)…and no one can pluck them out of the Father’s hand. We know, from Christ’s own words that a true Christian will never be cast away into the fire to be burned as vs. 6 of our text makes clear as to what happens to those branches that do not “abide” in Christ…that do not produce fruit.

Matthew 7:17-20
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

The principle is established by Jesus Christ that a lost individual does not bear the fruit of a true Christian. It is clear from the words of Christ, taken all together, that every branch that does not bear fruit is taken away. He is referring to lost people.

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained (established) you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

The elect of Christ, saved by His grace alone, at their appointed time, will follow Him and will bring forth fruit. So then, who are the branches “in Him” that do not bear fruit? Taking a systematic approach, we see that those branches that do not produce fruit are lost folks. Taking an historic approach, from the writings of our Baptist forefathers, John Gill and Charles Spurgeon, we see that historically, these “branches” that produce no fruit have been interpreted as highly religious, but lost church members.

~John Gill~

“There are two sorts of branches in Christ the vine; the one sort are such who have only an historical faith in him, believe but for a time, and are removed; they are such who only profess to believe in him, as Simon Magus did; are in him by profession only; they submit to outward ordinances, become church members, and so are reckoned to be in Christ, being in a church state, as the churches of Judea and Thessalonica, and others, are said, in general, to be in Christ; though it is not to be thought that every individual person in these churches were truly and savingly in him. These branches are unfruitful ones; what fruit they seemed to have, withers away, and proves not to be genuine fruit; what fruit they bring forth is to themselves, and not to the glory of God, being none of the fruits of his Spirit and grace: and such branches the husbandman taketh away.”

~Charles Spurgeon~
“Observe that our text mentions two characters who are in some respects exceedingly alike; they
are both branches, they are both branches in the vine: “Every branch in Me.” How much alike persons
may apparently be, who in God’s sight stand at opposite poles of character! Both the persons described
in the text were in Christ: in Christ in different senses it is obvious, because the first persons were not so
in Christ as to bring forth fruit, consequently, as fruit is that by which we are to judge a man, they were
not in Christ effectually, graciously, influentially, or so as to receive the fruit-creating sap. If they had
brought forth fruit, their fruitfulness would have been a sign that they were in Christ savingly.

Who will venture to say that a man who yields no fruit of righteousness can be really a Christian? Yet they were in Christ in some sense or other; that is to say, the two characters were equally esteemed to be Christians; their names were enrolled in the same church register; in the common judgment of men they were equally Christian; according to their own profession, they were so; in many other respects which we need not now catalog, they were both in Christ as His avowed disciples, as soldiers professedly fighting under His banner, as servants wearing His uniform.

These two persons were probably equally sound in their doctrinal views, they held the same precious
truths of God. If they heard falsehood, they were equally earnest to denounce it. When they listened to
the gospel, they received it with joy, and so received it as to be willing to assist in the spread of it, and
even to make sacrifices for its extension. These persons were equally attentive to ordinances. How often
has it happened that two persons of widely different states before the Lord, have been baptized at the
same hour, in the same water, into the same name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
and have then broken bread together with equal apparent fervency, and with equal professions of enjoyment and devotion! These people have been equally fair in their profession; their moral conduct has, in the judgment of all onlookers, been much the same; they have avoided everything of ill repute, and they have in their measure sought after that which was comely and lovely in the estimation of men. Ah, there will often be found two who publicly pray alike, have an equal gift in prayer—and what is worse, preach with equal earnestness and zeal, and to all appearance their family prayer is maintained with the same consistency, and yet for all this, the end of the one shall be to be cast away as a branch to be burned, while the end of the other shall be to bring forth fruit unto perfection, with everlasting life as the reward.”

Those who are the fruitless branches are the ones spoken of by Christ in…

Matthew 7:21-23
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Yes, they were church members, just as Judas Iscariot was a member of the first church started by Christ. Yes, they had many wonderful works, as did Judas, yet they did not bear the fruit of the Spirit as seen in…

 Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Those who have truly been saved…those true “branches in the vine” will bear fruit. They will bear fruit because the “husbandman” God the Father ordained it and will “purge” it or prune it. He will remove every part of the branch that the fruit is not growing on, but is sucking the life from the rest of the branch. Every old, dead, decaying leaf He will remove. Every “sucker” chute that grows but has no value, He will remove. By doing so…He causes the branch to bring forth more fruit.

 Those branches that do not produce fruit will be removed, as Judas Iscariot was. Those who are not true Christians will, like the seeds planted in rocky soil, spring up, but will wither away when the heat of the sun is upon them, because they have no root. Or, like the seeds that fell among the thorns, they will spring up, but be choked out by the thorns…the cares of this world. We’ve all seen it. Some, who are like the tares the enemy planted among the wheat will be allowed to grow up with the wheat, but will one day be removed by God’s angels on the Day of Judgment. God will make obvious who they are.

Keeping in mind that Judas had left, and Christ was with the 11 true believing disciples, Christ said…

3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

They were clean: They had been regenerated, set apart by God to be holy and to produce His fruit in their lives. Their hearts had been purified and His grace had been formed in their souls. It was the very words of Christ, the Gospel, that were instrumental in accomplishing their salvation. They were truly saved men.

A few short hours before He would shed His blood and suffered the wrath of God for their sins on the Cross of Calvary, Christ told those men…and He tells believers today…

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Abide in Him… that is what we are to do. The word “abide” is translated from Greek word (me'-nō – to live; to continue to be in). Jesus Christ is telling us to continue to live in Him. Draw your life from the “sap” of His own divine strength and life that flows from within Him.

Last week, we were encouraged to make Christ our life… Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

Today we hear the very words of Christ…He tells those who have been saved to Abide; to continue to live in Him. Most of us have grown tomato plants or seen them growing. What happens when a branch, that has tomatoes growing on it, is somehow broken or bent? The leaves began to turn yellow and the fruit begins to wither. Sin causes a break from Christ…not a complete separation, but a tear in the branch. Our fruit begins to wither. The tear or break must be mended so the sap is allowed to flow fully again into the branch. When we sin, we must confess it, repent of it and seek His forgiveness.

As we do that, and as He removes those things from our lives that suck the life from us, we will be able to abide in Him, to continue to live in Him and be very fruitful. Without Him we can do nothing…nothing that is spiritually good; no, not anything at all, be it little or great, easy or difficult. We cannot think a good thought, speak a good word, or do a good action. Neither can we begin one, nor, when it is begun, complete it. Nothing is to be done "without Christ"; without His Spirit, grace, strength, and presence.

If it were possible for the branches that are truly in Him, to be removed from Him, they could bear no fruits of good works, any more than a branch separated from the vine can bring forth grapes. All the fruitfulness of a believer is to be ascribed to Christ, and His grace; not the free will and power of man.

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Any person, though professing faith in Christ and a good church member, who does not continue on in Christ…who does not abide in Him, will be cast away into the fire of God’s wrath. On the contrary, the professing true believer will abide in Christ and the words of Christ will abide in him and he will bear fruit…much fruit.

This is the manner in which you will be disciples to Jesus Christ…By the holy, set apart life you continue to live, your growth in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, your continued faithfulness and obedience to Him, all of which will bring the Father much glory…

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father
                        which is in heaven.
As Paul encouraged Timothy, I encourage you… “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of...” (2 Timothy 3:14)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Is Christ Your Life?

Two weeks ago we looked at living a holy life because God is holy and He commands us to be holy (1Peter 1:15-16). Last week we looked at “perfecting” or achieving holiness by cleansing ourselves from the filthiness of the flesh and spirit (2 Corinthians 7:1). In these evil days, we must strive to live a holy life that is separated from this world.

The influences around us, to live as the world lives, are strong and we know that ultimately it is God who will sanctify, or separate, us from this world. Without Him, we cannot live a holy life, but with Him all things, pertaining to salvation and holiness, are possible. He has given us ALL THINGS that pertain unto spiritual life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). We can do all things through Christ which strengthens us…and please don’t take that verse out of context.

Don’t try to apply it to achieving your dreams, if your dreams are anything other than being holy and like Christ…if your dream is to make a name for yourself in this world, or to make a lot of money and live a life of ease…don’t use Philippians 4:13 (“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”), or Matthew 19:26 (“…with God all things are possible”) to try to motivate yourself to achieve anything other than a life pleasing to God. To do so is to take the word of God out of context and render it useless. There are many professing Christians who do so. Do not be one of them.

Don't pursue a dream and ask God to bless it. Pursue God and be
blessed with all spiritual blessings.” 
~ Joey Newell

                A life that is holy; a life that is separate from this world is a life like Christ’s. Is that what you want? Do you want to be like Jesus Christ? Is Christ your life? …what your life is all about? Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do…do you do it all for the glory of God? Jesus did.

                If you are saved this morning, remember… “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…” Romans 8:29. If you are saved, you have been predestined to be made in the image of Jesus Christ. He will perform it! He is Sovereign…yet, let us not forget that we still have a responsibility before God to live a holy life.

                This morning, let us gain some wisdom and encouragement from the Apostle Paul, as we read from his Holy Spirit inspired letter to the saints in Philippi…and to the saints at Bible Baptist Church in Rising Star, TX.

Philippians 1:1-24
1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

                Paul and Timothy are writing to the believers who were living in the city of Philippi in the region of Macedonia, or the north western portion of Greece. Philippi is believed to be the first place in Europe where the Apostle Paul preached the gospel around 50 A.D. My understanding is that there was no major Jewish population here. There was no synagogue…just Gentiles who had been elected unto salvation by God before the foundation of the world. Paul had a most definite fondness in his heart for the people of Philippi.

3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

From his first visit around 50 A.D. until this letter, which was written around 62 A.D, Paul had a very close relationship with the Christians in Philippi. Think about those fellow believers in Christ you know, who are dearest to you. You may not see them often, but when you do, the fellowship around Jesus Christ is sweet…and every form of communication you have with them (phone call, email, text message) is especially dear and encouraging to you. That is what this letter was from Paul to the Philippians.

6 Being confident of this very thing, that he (God) which hath begun a good work (faith in Christ unto salvation) in you will perform (complete) it until the day of Jesus Christ:
7 Even as it is meet (approved of God) for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense (a reasoned argument) and confirmation (establishment) of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace (God’s divine influence in the heart and its reflection in the life).
8 For God is my record (witness), how greatly I long after (desire) you all in the bowels (with the greatest passion) of Jesus Christ.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment (moral discernment in ethical matters);
10 That ye may approve (recognize as genuine after examination) things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere (pure) and without offence (not troubled by a consciousness of sin) till the day of Christ;
11 Being filled with the fruits (works) of righteousness (integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting), which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

We must understand that living a holy life…a life of integrity, virtue, purity, rightness, and correct thinking, feeling and acting, only can come by Jesus Christ as our life is being transformed into His image. One of the most difficult parts of this “holy life” is that the Lord works at His own pace, as He pleases. It is not instant. He is a master craftsman and He takes His time. We have to keep that in mind as we long to be like Him. We can’t allow ourselves to get discouraged when we don’t progress as we think we ought. At the same time, we can’t use the slow rate at which we are being transformed as an excuse to indulge in sin. We are responsible to pursue holiness.  Also, we have to keep this in mind as we look at others and think to ourselves they are not progressing as we think they should…

                Paul wants his beloved fellow believers to realize that his imprisonment by Rome and all his trials and tribulations was resulting in God’s intended purpose…the furtherance of the gospel.

12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto (resulted in) the furtherance of the gospel;
13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest (made known) in all the palace ("head-quarters" in a Roman occupied land, the living quarters of the commander-in-chief), and in all other places;
14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident (being persuaded) by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy (to lead away a Christian church from that state of knowledge and holiness in which it ought to abide) and strife (contentious debate); and some also of good will:
16 The one preach Christ of contention (for the purpose of splitting people and getting some on your side), not sincerely (honestly with no hidden agenda), supposing (thinking it will) to add affliction (distress) to my bonds:
17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense (a reasoned argument) of the gospel.
18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense (simply for show), or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

Paul rejoiced that the gospel of Jesus Christ was being preached, regardless of the intentions of those doing the preaching. That is one reason why we can rejoice even when an armenean preaches the gospel, even when we don’t fully agree with their ending statements…at least they are preaching Christ and Him crucified.

19 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,
20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor; yet, what I shall choose I wot (know) not.

Paul is saying that as long as he lived in his fleshly body, the work which he had set out to do was to live Christ and preach the gospel! For me to live is Christ… Have you been brought to the place, today, where you can say that? Is Christ your life? Is He your everything? Is He what motivates you to do what you are doing?

                I’ve had to ask myself hard questions like… Why do I correct my children when they need it? Is it because I don’t want to be embarrassed by their bad behavior and I want you to think I am a good father? …or is it because I want to point them to Christ?
Why do I go to work every day? …is it because I want you to think I am a good provider for my family? …or is it because it is my duty before God in Christ to provide for them and I want to bring Him glory?

If He is not my reason for living…if He is not your reason for living, then we must pursue Him until He is…that is holiness! That is what this life is all about for the Christian…for God to conform us into the image of Christ. It is not for us to chase our dreams. It is not for us to amass our wealth. It is not to gain power over others. Our life is to be like Christ. Is Christ your life? Paul was so given over to Christ that as long as he was alive, he lived for Christ…

23 For I am in a strait (pressed between two opposing sides like a calf in chute) betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better (for Paul):
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

                Do you desire to be with Christ beholding Him in all His glory? …not so you can escape all the trials of this life, but so you can behold His glory. I do. However, like Paul, at the time he wrote his letter to the Philippians, it was more needful for them that he remained on this earth to encourage them to pursue after Christ. It is more needful for my family and for you that I am here to encourage you. When I have accomplished all that God has predestined by to accomplish…and He has completed His work of conforming me into the image of His dear Son, He will call me home…which is FAR better!

                I want to encourage you to pursue Jesus Christ in holiness until you are in His presence, beholding Him face to face. Nothing this world has to offer will come anywhere close to bringing you the joy you will get when you look into His eyes and see the One who shed His own blood for your soul and hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”